HOW TO MAKE A GRAPHIC NOVEL (1/7)
5 POINTS OF FOCUS
Two weeks ago I had the opportunity to teach a class on making comics and graphic novels to a group of 13-16 year-olds. Teaching comics is not something new to me–over the last couple of years I’ve given nearly two dozen workshops on everything from writing for comics, to developing characters, making one-page comics, and making a graphic novel for publication. The large majority of workshops I’ve given in the past have been an hour or two long in a single day, but this class was scheduled to meet for three hours each day for five days. That’s 15 hours of comics!
In planning the curriculum, I decided early on to focus on just five aspects of comics: terminology, storytelling, character development, page layout and concept. There is so much that we could cover, so I wanted to focus on the parts of comics that I thought were most important to keeping the students excited about comics. With each mini lesson and activity I planned, I tried to incorporate each topic to keep the class and students focused. When we created a four panel autobiographic comic, we used panel and gutter shapes, sizes and placement to our advantage. We talked about page and panel composition and how the size and placement of object guides the reader’s eye. We worked out drawings in our sketchbooks and developed the characters and story before drawing them with ink on bristol board. Same thing when we made our pass-along jam comic, and when me made our mini comics.
I’d like to start a short series of posts here on this blog that covers everything we talked about in class. This is post #1. I’ll include all handouts and activities and give examples where possible. If you are teaching a class on comics, or would like to learn more about making your own comics, feel free to leave your comments and questions below. Let’s figure this whole “making comics” thing together!On to PART 2!